Scandi-Baltic Adventures

5 October 2016
Read Time: 2.3 mins

Done Italy? Travelled France? Cosmos puts the spotlight on a magical part of Europe on their 16-day Jewels of Baltics and Scandinavia tour.

 Copenhagen's waterfront is picture-perfect in any season(image: Getty)

Let Cosmos take you through the best of the Baltics and Scandinavia, a whimsical pocket that blends ancient traditions with modern design across a veritable array of awe-inspiring architecture and fairytale-like lands.

The journey begins in Copenhagen, the home of famed author Hans Christian Andersen. The Danish capital’s charming promenades lining the many pretty canals and ancient winding streets are perfect for exploring on foot or by bike, and no doubt inspired some of the literary great’s finest works. The beauty of this city extends beyond its 17th- and 18th-century buildings to the clean, cutting-edge aesthetics of its fashionable locals.

Then, take the ferry to Germany and then on to Poland’s capital. Warsaw’s architecture provides an accurate retelling of the city’s long, turbulent history, from Gothic churches and Neoclassical palaces to Soviet-era blocks and modern skyscrapers.

 Estonia's capital Tallinn fuses the modern and medieval (image: Getty)

From Warsaw to the city of Vilnius, Lithuania, explore another city where the architecture has been largely influenced by its stormy history. Your tour takes you across Lithuania into Latvia, with a stop in Pilsrundale to visit the restored Palace of Rundale. The palace is one of the country’s most outstanding architectural landmarks and a stunning example of the Baroque period, complete with stables and a garden-park.

Travel on to Riga to take in the beautiful architecture of Latvia’s capital, before touring Estonia. Visit the seaside historic town of Parnu, and continue to capital Tallin. This magical city is located on the shore of the Gulf of Finland and is another blend of medieval and modern marvels. This stems from Tallinn’s restored 600-year-old Old Town that sits in the heart of an urban centre, dubbed the Silicon Valley of Europe.

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Then, start your journey to St Petersburg, arguably Russia’s most fascinating city. Peter the Great created the city with a vision that it would be the capital of all the Russias, and that it should rival other European capitals in its splendour, beauty and distinction. The included city sightseeing reveals its palaces, parks, monuments and 600 gorgeous bridges.

 St Petersburg lights up at dusk (image: Getty)

Take a last glimpse of St Petersburg before setting off north through dense pine forests dotted with numerous lakes into Finland, heading for Helsinki. For architectural enthusiasts, Helsinki, founded in 1550, also offers much of the old and the new. There are great cathedrals, like the onion-domed Uspenski Cathedral and the Neoclassical buildings in and around Senate Square. These create a striking contrast to the Design Museum and the avant-garde Museum of Contemporary Art, located right in the heart of the city.

Conclude your journey with a ferry to Stockholm, considered to be one of the most beautiful Scandinavian capitals. Be sure to take a tour and see the city’s historic castles and palaces, and wander the cobblestone streets lined with the ochre-coloured buildings of Gamla Stan (old town) to get a real sense of 17th-century Stockholm. In contrast, make sure you experience Stockholm’s attractions dedicated to science with a visit to the Nobel Museum and the incredible exhibits at the Swedish Museum of Natural History and Cosmonova.

 Skansen Open-Air Museum offers a snapshot of traditional farms and homes across the country (image: Getty)

It’s also worthwhile taking time out of your day to visit the Skansen Open-Air Museum, the oldest open-air museum in the world. Skansen is located on Royal Djurgarden with breathtaking views over all of Stockholm. The museum, with its traditional farms and dwellings selected from all over Sweden, offers a historic snapshot for those who might not get to explore the rest of the country. Stockholm, a Nordic capital full of fairytale palaces, castles, parks and crystal-blue waters, serves as the perfect end to your far-flung adventures.

Visit your local Flight Centre store or call 131 600 for more advice and the latest Cosmos deals.

Tara Young

The experience of travel changes a person. I see my job as highlighting what amazing travel opportunities there are to broaden your knowledge of that great big world beyond your doorstep and what you may learn about yourself on the way.